Proteovant, VantAI and Blueprint Medicines aim to develop new therapies that target disease-causing proteins
VantAI announces multi-year protein degrader discovery collaboration with Janssen
SK Inc.’s focus on driving medical breakthroughs received another boost with recent announcements of collaborations by its U.S. affiliates with leading biopharmaceutical firms. Proteovant and its sister company, VantAI, both recently announced plans to work with leading biopharmaceutical companies in the emerging area of drug development called targeted protein degradation.
To enter one of the most promising areas for novel drug discovery, SK Inc., the strategic investment arm of SK Group, invested $200 million in Proteovant through a collaboration with Roivant Sciences in 2020. SK Inc. subsequently made an investment in Roivant Sciences in 2021 as Roivant became a public company.
Proteovant is focused on the development of protein degraders that harness the body’s natural protein disposal system and offer the potential to develop new medicines that target historically difficult-to-drug proteins, which play an important role in causing serious diseases. VantAI, a subsidiary of Roivant, pairs machine learning with deep systems biology expertise to build industry leading computational models for protein degrader design and optimization.
Proteovant Partners with Blueprint Medicines, Leveraging VantAI’s Deep Learning Platform
Proteovant recently announced a strategic collaboration agreement with U.S.-based Blueprint Medicines, in which it will leverage its protein degrader discovery and development expertise alongside VantAI’s deep learning platform and Blueprint’s precision medicine capabilities. The three companies agreed to work together to advance novel targeted protein degrader therapies to address important areas of medical need.
Proteovant, Blueprint Medicines and VantAI will jointly research potential targets and advance up to two novel protein degrader therapies into development candidates in oncology and hematology. Under the terms of the agreement, Proteovant will receive a $20 million upfront payment from Blueprint and be eligible to receive up to $632 million in potential milestone payments, plus tiered royalties on future sales. For more on the collaboration, please see this release from Proteovant and Blueprint Medicines.
VantAI Partners with Janssen
VantAI also announced this week that it has entered into a multi-year collaboration agreement with Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson (‘Janssen’). The agreement was facilitated by Johnson & Johnson Innovation.
Under the terms of the agreement, VantAI and Janssen will leverage VantAI's deep learning platform to generate drug candidates against important drug targets, and in addition, collaborate on the discovery and implementation of new E3Ligase platforms, which also could help with drug development. For more details on the agreement, please see this release.
Efforts Advance New Way to Treat Diseases
Targeted protein degradation, also known as TPD, is touted by many experts as a potential game changer in the pharmaceutical industry. Unlike conventional drugs, which inhibit the activity of particular proteins, TPD is focused on destroying disease-causing proteins.
As novel TPD therapies have the potential to provide superior efficacy and fewer side effects over conventional therapies, a successful commercialization of protein degraders could create a new class of breakthrough drugs. For more on the technology, please see this video.
Investments Representative of SK Inc. Focus on Next-Gen Technologies
SK Inc.’s backing of TPD therapies is part of a focus on next-generation drug discovery technologies by making continuous investments in innovative, non-conventional technologies. SK Inc. has been accelerating its foray into the biotech business through a series of investments in promising areas including: Standigm, an A.I.-driven workflow drug discovery company; GenEdit with gene editing technologies; Yposkesi, a French contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) specializing in cell and gene therapies; and the U.S.-based Center for Breakthrough Medicines (CBM).
“SK Inc. has been investing in innovative biotechnologies to identify new growth drivers, on top of SK Biopharmaceuticals,” said Dong-hoon Lee, executive vice president of the Bio Investment Center of SK Inc. “These partnerships will enable SK Inc. to help drive innovation in the discovery of TPD and further enhance our global collaborations to find new, more effective ways to treat diseases.”